STEP one done.
Sisi Rondina has moved closer to her goal of getting to the championship as University of Santo Tomas clinched a Final Four spot in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament with a straight-sets win over Far Eastern University on Sunday.
"Sabi ko nga, nangangarap akong umabot sa championship. Lagi kong nire-remind sa kanila yun, na gagawin ko ang mga kailangang gawin para ipakita na gusto kong maglaro para sa UST at para mag-pay off lahat ng mga paghihirap namin," the 5-foot-6 outside hitter said after firing 21 points, built on 17 kills, three blocks, and an ace against the Lady Tamaraws.
But as much as the 22-year-old Cebuana has taken the baton for the Golden Tigresses, she would be the first to acknowledge that they wouldn't be in this position if not for her younger peers.
That's why Rondina has taken it as her responsibility to be the motivating voice for UST, and she's happy with how they have responded to her call to action.
"Ako na ang bahalang sabihin sa kanila na, 'Are you with me?' Na kailangan sama-sama tayo, walang iwanan," she said.
"Ang maganda kasi sobrang responsible ng mga bata. Sinasabi ko sa kanila na habang nasa taas ang bola, wag silang titigil. Nakikinig sila at nagtutulungan kami kaya ito ang bunga ng lahat. Yung mga set, yung mga plays namin, dito na lumalabas."
That was in full view in UST's sweep of FEU, where Rondina lauded the efforts of first-year players like Eya Laure, Ysa Jimenez, and KC Galdones as the Espana-based spikers secured a spot in the semifinals.
"Sobrang focused yung paglalaro namin kanina at ang maganda doon kasi parang nasa gilid ko lang sila. Ako yung nagsasabi ng ganito ganyan, pero sila din ang nagsasabi na sila na ang bahala. Mararamdaman mo sa loob yun kaya sobrang thankful lang ako na nag-respond sila," she said.
As much as the Final Four berth could already be considered as a cause for celebration, Rondina isn't satisfied yet with her teams' current accomplishment as she hopes to end her collegiate career at the top.
"Sana mabigyan nila ako ng magandang exit," the fifth-year team captain said. "Ngayon, ok na ako eh. Sobrang overwhelmed na ako. Pero sinasabi ko naman sa kanila, walang imposible kung mangarap tayo ng todo-todo at trabahuin namin."
On to the next one.